When it comes to controversy ‘cocyl sarcosine’ is far from the back of the queue. Conflicting reports are found on this ingredient and you can find it is reportedly labelled ‘low’ and ‘moderate’ when it comes to risk. It is used in cosmetics and personal products. Acyl sarcosines and sarcosinates are used to increase the volume, suppleness and texture of hair and enhance its appearance. They can benefit the feel of hair which has been chemically or physically damaged. As they help oil mix with water they can assist in cleansing dirt and oil from skin and hair, allowing them to be washed away. Acyl sarcosinates are derived from fatty acids such as coconut acid, oleic acid, lauric acid and myristic acid. These are all-natural acids. Sarcosine is a breakdown product of caffeine or creatine. Critics (and logic), argue that when a natural product is chemically treated to acquire a derivative, can it still be classed as natural?
Cocoyl sarcosine is also listed as anionic surfactant and nitrosating agent. Anionic refers to the negative charge which these surfactants have. There are serious health risks associated with surfactants, which are also used in car washes and as garage floor cleaners, along with engine degreasers. They are also reportedly present in around 90% of personal care products as foaming agents. Some of the names to look out for in this respect are: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) · Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) · Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) · Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALES) · Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate · Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate · Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate · Potassium Coco Hydrolysed Collagen · TEA (Triethanolamine) Lauryl Sulfate · TEA (Triethanolamine) Laureth Sulfate · Lauryl or Cocoyl Sarcosine · Disodium Oleamide Sulfosuccinate · Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate and Disodium Dioctyl Sulfosuccinate.
Nitrosating agents are chemicals which can cause nitrosamine contamination. We now enter the realms of severely dangerous cosmetics. Such chemicals have been found to cause cancer in laboratory animals! Both in USA and Europe there are very widespread, repeated concerns about the contamination of cosmetic products with nitrosamines.
The following chemicals can cause nitrosamine contamination in conjunction with a secondary or tertiary amines:
- Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
- DEA (Diethanolamine) compounds (Secondary Amine-the main culprit)
- Formaldehyde (All Aldehydes)
- Hydrolyzed Animal Protein
- Imidazolidinyl Urea
- MEA (Monoethanolamine) compounds (Primary Amine)
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate
- TEA (Triethanolamine) compounds (Tertiary Amine)
- Quaternium-7, 15, 31, 60, etc
When these are combined with certain ingredients, this is how they form nitrosamines.
The dangers of nitrosamines have been known for over 100 years. There have been extensive studies on them during this time. Around 90% of the compounds which have been tested, have been evidenced to be carcinogenic when administered at high doses, over a wide range of animal species. This evidence has been used to form the belief that nitrosamines are carcinogenic to humans. We for one fully agree with this very logical assumption. It is believed by others, that any products that do form nitrosamines will be so low that they will not be of risk. We, along with many others, believe that anything that could pose such a risk and further add to the chemical cocktail we unwittingly take in daily, (via foods, cleaning agents and air pollution to name a few), is certainly worth avoiding!
As always, we recognise that each and every one of you will have a differing opinion on what you regard as being safe to you. Ultimately, the choice is yours and we only hope that you will continue to educate yourself over controversial chemicals in cosmetics. You can do this by adding further reading on the links to our references below. Hopefully, our post will have at least given you some food for thought and alerted you to just how important it is to start taking note of what it is you choose to use. We will be back soon with further information, on what may be hidden in your very own cosmetics.